NEW DELHI: The centre has decided to allow procurement of gram (chana) and lentils (masur) in 13 states at minimum support price (MSP) during lockdown without waiting for any formal proposal from states regarding the purchase.

“States can purchase 25% of the total production of these commodities at MSP. We have released Rs 1250 crore for the procurement of 1.71 lakh tonnes of chana and 0.87 lakh tonnes of masur,” agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar tweeted.

The minimum support price of chana has been fixed at Rs 4875 a quintal while lentil can be purchased at Rs 4800 a quintal.

“Government agencies like NAFED, SFAC and other designated agencies would continue to undertake procurement of masur and chana at MSP. The losses, if any incurred by the nodal agencies in such operations may be fully reimbursed by the Government as per the guidelines,” said a senior agriculture ministry official.

The 13 states, where procurement would start, includes Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Punjab, Jharkhand, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Uttrakhand and Tamilnadu.

The government has also allowed procurement to food grains during lock down by extending exemptions to procurement activities. For wheat and rice also, the centre has given go ahead to states without discussing their procurement targets and plan.

“Due to lock down, we could not hold meetings with states for fixing targets. We has asked them to go ahead with their plans,” said a food ministry official.

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